Tuesday, October 31, 2017

My Grandmother The Witch

Good morning and a happy Halloween to you. Are you ready for the trick or treaters? I have lots of candy but I am not sure that I will get a lot of kids, I hope so because I love their little costumes and smiling faces. 

 This post from other years, but I love to re-post it on Halloween because: 1). It makes my relatives happy 2). Because I actually grew up believing that my grandmother was a witch and 3.) It brings back so many happy memories for me and my siblings. 

My Grandmother the Witch

I've lived a magical life and I am lucky because I have always been surrounded by love, imagination, colorful story tellers and taught to believe.

Image from The Graphics Fairy

From the time I was a small child my grandfather wove tales of our heritage to amuse as well teach us. In addition to my relatives, Hocus Pocus Johnny Mocus, the alligators in the basement that guarded the barrels of money and the shark that bit off the tip of his finger, my grandfather loved to share tales about my grandmother who was a "witch" and lived in a beautiful tower.

via Martha Stewart

He claimed that after we went to bed, she took her long black hair down from its bun, hopped on her broom and rode off to see the city and perhaps to visit her friends before going to sleep in her tower castle and then coming back by morning to see us.

Image from Wicked Faerie Queen

He often took us driving by her beautiful tower and when we asked if we could go in the answer was always no, you could only go in at night and the only way in was to fly on your broom to the top window.

via Pine Cones and Acorns

Being of a young, fertile mind I thought perhaps the story was true because after all, my grandmother did have long, black hair ( most witches do), it reached her rear end, and she always wore it in a bun. She always took it down at night and would brush it, 100 strokes to keep it soft.  In addition, she did a lot of sweeping with a really cool broom ( witches have these too), and sometimes when she wasn't looking we would take it outside to the garden to see if we could get it to work.

Then, there was her tower which was perched on a hill, overlooking the beautiful Lake Michigan and surrounded by beautiful houses and a park, clearly visible for all of Milwaukee to see, even those far out to sea. 

Visible for all all to see, even the ships out to sea!

My grandfather would drive us by the magical tower and although we could see the beautiful windows and the architecture there was no door that I could ever find.

I dreamed of visiting her here!

Most importantly, every time we asked her if she was a witch, and I can tell you there were many times, she just smiled and said we should "believe in things we cannot see."

I never really had reason to doubt these stories because I did often see my grandfather come out of the basement, from a room we were never allowed  into, and he always came out with a box of money, which he gave us a quarter from every Friday to go the penny candy store (dating myself here...now a days that doesn't get you much). He did take us to meet Hocus Pocus Johnny Mocus, a distant relative who gave us candy and soda and was a magical man. And my grandfather was missing the tip of his index finger. Clearly evidence to a small child and her siblings to believe any and all tales, even one that entailed a shark biting off the tip of your finger. 

Image Graphics Fairy

I also had other reasons to believe. My grandmother was from a family of 13 children, and she had 10 children herself, from a stock of hard working, land owning, German, Catholics. She was magical, because whenever you were with her she made you feel like the most important person in the world and she made you feel loved. She was a hard worker, industrious, intelligent and she loved to read, which is a magical gift that she passed on to me. 

 She worked magic in the kitchen and would whip up delectable treats, Cinnamon buns, Christmas cookies, cakes, and tasty morsels for family and friends, and often she let her little apprentices stand side by side with her, rolling dough and frosting cookies. Even when times were tough, she always used her magic and faith to find ways to feed her children and to make sure they had a wonderful life.

My grandmothers "slab apple pie"

She instilled in us the value of family, the importance of love, and a zest and joy for life. She also taught us about the magic of tradition and to always be there for one another and the fact that there is "no place like home."

 I believe and think that is the most magical of beliefs. So my guess is that if she was a witch she was the best kind there is...a Good Witch.

I think of her often and miss her all the time but mostly when I see her tower which I visit each time I am in Milwaukee. I stand there and imagine her up high with her friends sharing a cocoa and a cinnamon bun looking down and smiling at me.

Image Pine Cones and Acorns

Do you have any skeletons or witches in your family closet that you would like to tell us about? 

 I hope that you have a very Happy Halloween! 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Grilled Gruyere Sandwich with Avocado and Tomato

Post may contain affiliate links.

Good morning! How was your weekend? Saturday was beautiful but Sunday we were rained out from the storm, luckily we did not loose power or have any flooding. Although Sundays I like to relax, the grey rainy day had me Fall cleaning and piling up stuff to donate. 

This weekend I also baked, no surprise there, some scrumptious crusty no-knead bread. Seriously, what could be easier than stirring up flour, water, yeast, etc in a bowl, letting it sit for 18-24 hours, then folding into a ball, raising for 2 hours and baking? It looked and tasted like it was from a bakery.  I used a few slices to make these sandwiches.

Grilled Gruyere Sandwich with Avocado and Tomato 
Makes one sandwich

2 slices crusty bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
3 slices Roma tomato 
1/2 avocado thinly sliced

In a frying pan add 1 tablespoon of butter and let melt, add the slices of bread and let cook for 1 minute, add the grated cheese and cook until slightly melted. Place one piece of bread on the other to close the sandwich. Cook the grilled cheese until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden and toasty, about 3-5 minutes over low-medium heat. Remove sandwich from the pan place on a plate and add the tomato and the avocado slices. Enjoy! You could also eat this with a steaming bowl of Roasted Tomato Soup.

Roasted Tomato Soup, Similar Bowls, Rectangle Plates, Spoons vintage, Similar Spoons, Napkin old, similar Napkin

Have you made no-knead bread, did you like it? Have you tried any with the addition of nuts and seeds? My next loaf is going to be with cranberries and pecans; I will let you know how it turns out. As for sandwiches, if you add cheese to any bread I will eat it. I think it is the perfect meal and especially delicious on a cold Fall or Winter day.

I hope that you have a wonderful day. Stay safe in the storm.

Sources: Similar BowlsRectangle Plate, Similar Spoons, Similar Napkins Here

Linking to:
Savvy Southern Style

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Silent Sunday 10-29-2017

Have a great day!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Ibride -Saturday Selections

Post contains affiliate links. 

Good morning! Tuesday is Halloween are you ready with your decor and your candy, or perhaps your costume?  I am not a huge fan of Halloween, as I absolutely hate anything scary, including ghosts, Freddie Krueger, the guy from the Halloween movies, etc. The world is full of so many spooky, scary people I do not need to revisit it on Halloween. I do however like the candy. 

Image Pinterest

But for those of you that like it, I thought you might be amused by these interesting trays that you can use for afternoon tea or to hang on the walls. They are not necessarily scary but oddly interesting. 

Are you familiar with ibride, these interesting pieces are made in France? I was not familiar with them until recently. I am not sure what I think, what about you?

What are your plans for the weekend? Will you be attending any Halloween parties? Whatever you do have a safe and happy weekend. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday Favorites from Dinner at the Zoo, Town and Country, Chelsea's Messy Apron, and More

This post may contain affiliate links. 

Good morning! Happy Friday to you, did you have a good week? Mine was pretty uneventful as I spent most of it trying to get back into my routine and taking care of the tasks that pile up when one is out of town.

Image Dinner at the Zoo

Pasta is one of my favorite things to eat especially if they contain my favorite Fall foods. This recipe for Butternut Squash Pasta with Chicken and Bacon from Dinner at the Zoo is perfect for a cool Fall evening. 

Doesn't this Crunchy Autum Pasta Salad from Chelsea's Messy Apron look delicious? I cannot wait to make this!

It's going to be a cool Fall weekend here and I have a basket of apples so I think I will make this Harvest Apple Pie.

If you are a fan of the Barefoot Contessa here are Ina Garten's 11 Best Recipes for Fall.

David Leibovitz shares 6 Ways to Entertain Like a Parisian.

Image Here

This post will have you looking twice at the art the next time you stroll through a museum. 

Are you a fan of Kate Middleton? Here is the untold story of her engagement ring. Yes there is more to the ring than the fact that it was Princess Diana's. 

Image Town And Country via Pinterest

Oscar de la Renta is an icon of fashion, this Exhibit in Houston at the Museum of Fine Arts features some of his stunning pieces including Amal Clooney's wedding dress. 

Thanksgiving is a month away so there is still time to order your invitations. Here are a few of my favorites. I love the idea of a printed invitation or even a family photo

Did you make, read, do or see anything interesting this week that you want to share? I am particularly interested in soup recipes if you have them. 

I hope that you have a great weekend. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Just Curious...What is Your Favorite Halloween Candy?

Good morning! Next week is Halloween can you believe it?  As a child I really did not like to get dressed up for Halloween and frankly I hated when we had to trick or tray at night. I liked it a lot better when my town made trick or treat on Sunday from 1-3. I am a wimp when it comes to anything scary but I do like the candy. Actually I love the candy!

My siblings and I would go out, not with a trick or treat bag, but with a decorated pillowcase and we would bring it home filled to the brim. Once home we would dump it out and sort out our favorites and then trade with one another for the things we did or did not like. 

I personally love Milk Duds, Tootsie Rolls, Twizzlers, Candy Corns, Sweet Tarts and peanut M&M's. When I was younger I loved Snickers and Butterfinger candy bars but I have not had one of those in about 20 years. 

I am curious, what is your favorite candy? Are you a fan of candy corns? I have heard form some that it is too sweet, is there such a thing? Or do you like candy bars? Do you have a favorite kind? 

Each year I buy a ton of candy and we put in a bowl on the front porch so that the dogs do not scare the kids. We either have no kids come to the door or one kid takes all of the candy. Do you take your kids or grand kids trick or treating? Do you have a lot of trick or treaters' that come to your house?

If your kids get too much Halloween candy or you have leftovers please visit Operation Gratitude to find the nearest candy drop off in your area. All of the candy is sent to troops that are serving overseas. Last year they received and distributed a record-setting 533,891 pounds of candy! If do not have candy but you have time to drop them a "thank you" you can get information on where to send letters and cards, here.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Pendleton: An American Classic

This post contains affiliate links.

Good morning. I am back from the hot, humid days of Florida and longing for cool sweater weather. It comes and goes here so it is a challenge to get dresses in the morning.

To me Fall is the beginning of tartan weather and the minute the thermometer drops I have my throws, sweaters, scarfs, and coats out and ready for use. 

Pendleton is one of my favorite companies for  tartan plaids and always reminds my of my grandmother. She had a few beautiful plaid skirts and blazers and she would wear them all winter long. The stylish, yet traditional combinations are a classic and can be worn by all ages. I have a collection of skirts, and blazers, some vintage and some new that I rotate all winter long. 

In addition to the clothing I collect vintage tartan blankets and throws. Do you remember those beautiful blankets keeping you warm when you were a child?

In case you are not familiar with Pendleton here is a snippet of their history:

From the Pendleton site: 

The history of Pendleton Woolen Mills is one of opportunity, exploration and innovation. British weaver Thomas Kay laid the foundation when he arrived in Oregon in 1863. His expertise lives on in Pendleton’s tweed, flannel and worsted wool apparel. Kay’s grandsons, the three Bishop brothers, opened Pendleton Woolen Mills in the early 1900s. They joined Kay’s weaving skills with stunning Native American-inspired designs in the Pendleton Trade blanket, a benchmark for beauty and quality for over 100 years. Family-owned and operated for more than six generations, the uniquely American story of Pendleton Woolen Mills continues today.

I love the classic buffalo plaid jackets and scarfs.  

If you like the black and red plaid but don't have a use for the jackets they also have walletscoin purses and tote bags

Today there is almost nothing that you cannot get in a classic Pendleton plaid, to include a Christmas tree skirt or a stocking!

If you are interested in Pendleton and its history you can visit their website and read more about the history of this iconic America brand. 

Have a great day!

Apple Crisp Shortbread Bars

Good morning! Did you have a nice weekend? Mine was great, we were in Florida for a wedding and were able to spend time with a wonderful friend so it was a relaxing getaway. I am ready though to be  back in my routine, I have missed my morning yoga classes and my pups. 

I made these Apple Crisp Shortbread bars for a friend before I left out of town and they are delicious!  If you like apple crisp and apple pie than you with love this easy recipe that combines both of your favorites. The buttery shortbread crust with spicy apples and a crumbly topping are the perfect Fall treat. 

Apple Crisp Shortbread Bars
Recipe from Life Straight Up


1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour


3 large apples, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg


1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter-melted or room temperature

Preheat the oven to 300" F. The line an 8 x8 baking ban with parchment paper making sure to leave a couple of inches on the sides so that it is easier to lift out the bars later. 

Place butter into your mixer and turn on high for 5 minutes or until the butter turns white then mix in the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Once combined, add in the flour and stir well. Press the mixture into the parchment lined pan and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking mix the  filling. In a bowl, combine the apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg until the apples are well coated and set aside. 

For the topping,  mix flour, 3/4 up brown sugar. Cut in the butter and mix together until small clumps form. 

Remove the crust from the oven and turn the heat up to 350 degrees F. Sprinkle one half of the topping over the short bread crust, then layer the apples on top. Then sprinkle the remainder of the topping evenly on top  of the apple filling and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully before placing in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours. Remove from the baking dish by lifting out the parchment paper and cut into 16 squares. Enjoy!

Have a great day!

Linking to:
Savvy Souther Style

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Hot Chocolate Finds

Hot drinks on cool days what could be better? I know that many like tea, coffee and cappuccinos, my favorite hot drink is hot chocolate. I actually do not wait for cool weather to drink it, I have it every morning.

I blend my own chocolate to make a very rich, European style drinking chocolate and I savor every sip. 

If you are a hot coco or hot chocolate lover here are a few fun mugsornaments and even signs for your holiday hot chocolate bar! I got this plaid thermos last year to take my favorite beverage on the road with me. 

If you are looking for delicious chocolate recipes check out my other blog, Once Upon a Chocolate Life for lots of my favorite hot chocolate recipes. Or check out my hot chocolate Pinterest board! 

 Have a great day!

Friday Favorites from Wife Mama Foodie, Honest Yum, Sequins & Stripes, and More

This post may contain affiliate links. 

Image from Honestly Yum

I love "junk food" not so much chips and candy but pasta, tacos, and pizza. I actually call those foods "Friday foods" because that is how I like to start the weekend, with something comforting and casual.  So this Apple, Bacon and Rosemary Pizza from Honest Yum is on my list for next Friday. Tonight I am going out with friends, hopefully for Mexican. 

Superfood Breakfast Cookies from Wife Mama Foodie

Do you eat breakfast? Typically for breakfast I try to eat eggs and avocado on sprouted grain bread but sometimes I get adventurous and eat oatmeal or even cold cereal. I might have to totally change my diet for these scrumptious looking Superfood Breakfast Cookies from Wife Mama Foodie! I mean what it there not to love about cookies for breakfast? 
I have made several pumpkin things already this Fall, including Thai, Coconut Pumpkin Soup and Classic Pumpkin Bread this week I am going to try one or maybe all of these 9 Pumpkin Recipes from Taste of the South

Image Sequins and Stripes

I have never made pumpkin butter but this recipe and the cute tags from Sequins & Stripes looks easy and delicious. 

Image House of Turquoise

Fall is all about the pumpkins if you ask me, but not necessarily orange and white. Isn't this green and turquoise porch from House of Turquoise fabulous!

You might have heard me mention a time or two that I love Scotland and would love to live there. My dream is a little cottage but perhaps if I ever won the lottery I might be able to live in one of these Spectacular Castles and Estates featured on Country Life.

I recently read, The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan. 

From the cover: 

As England becomes enmeshed in the early days of World War II and the men are away fighting, the women of Chilbury village forge an uncommon bond. They defy the Vicar’s stuffy edict to close the choir and instead “carry on singing,” resurrecting themselves as the Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. We come to know the home-front struggles of five unforgettable choir members: a timid widow devastated when her only son goes to fight; the older daughter of a local scion drawn to a mysterious artist; her younger sister pining over an impossible crush; a Jewish refugee from Czechoslovakia hiding a family secret; and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past. 

A beautifully written book of interesting women(good and bad) trying to survive during the difficult times of WWII, who have the bond of the choir to offer them comfort. I loved this book and hope a sequel comes out soon. 

SaveSave For the person that likes to make a statement, loves Smeg refridgerators and has very deep pockets. 

These interesting refrigerators are a collaboration between Dolce Gabbana and Smeg and cost $50,000! For that price I hope they have smart capabilities  and order your food and stock it too!

If you are looking to add a little excitement and whimsy to your Thanksgiving celebrations here are a few things you might life, to include photo props and an entertainment set.

Did you read, eat, make or do anything interesting this week? If so, please share, I love to hear what you are up too. 

 Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Just Curious...Have You Ever Been Sexually Harassed?

Good morning! This week the papers have had non-stop coverage about Harvey Weinstein and the sexual harassment claims that have toppled him from his prominent perch of "top Hollywood producer."

To be honest when I first heard the story, my first thought was, "I've heard that before" and indeed I had, several years ago when an actress, whom I cannot recall her name, said that he had harassed her. About that time there were rumblings that he had done it to others, and as quickly as the story came it was gone. There was even a mention that "this stuff" happens all the time in Hollywood and no one talks about it.

I remember thinking this weekend, "where there is smoke there is fire." I thought perhaps there were many more to whom this had happened; but that they did not think they could come forward because to date nothing had happened to Weinstein so they did not want to jeopardize their careers or future opportunities.

I never thought about any of this and how it affected my life until I read a story in which they quoted Donna Karan, and she said( I am paraphrasing here) "that we must also consider how these women were dressed when these things happened to them." Really? What does that have to do with anything?

That one statement brought my own claims of sexual harassment to the forefront of my mind because the same question was asked about me.

I don't want to go into all of the details but I will say that it happened to #metoo while I was in graduate school. I was not assaulted but I was inappropriately touched and was the recipient of many, many weird, sexual stories from a professor. After a year I reported him and I was the one investigated, and one of the first questions asked of all of my fellow students and professors was, "what did she wear to class?", "Did she dress appropriately?"

I am curious, what do you think about the Harvey Weinstein stories? Do you think all of these women speaking out will help to end this sort of behavior? Or do you think it will continue? Do you believe that "not everyone knew?"

I have to be honest, I think it will continue, not only in Hollywood, but in schools, in the workplace and wherever there is a man or a woman that has some sense of power and makes you feel as if you are powerless.

I also do not believe that not everyone knew. Granted they may not have been the target of this man but people talk, and tell stories and apparently for over 30 years people were talking. Lets face it, if the public heard some of the stories how did they people in this mans' sphere of influence not hear them?

Do you think that Harvey Weinstein deserves a second chance? Do you think he will get one?

Have you ever been the victim of sexual harassment at work, school or somewhere else?

If you are curious about the #metoo movement and the origin of "me too" read this article.

Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts. I hope that you have a great day?